Hurtado horror: Red Bulls 1 Whitecaps 0September 5, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Whitecaps 2016, Whitecaps Season 2016 | 1 Comment
Tags: Bradley Wright-Phillips, Camilo Sanvezzo, Carl Robinson, major league soccer, MLS, New York Red Bulls, Vancouver Whitecaps
Oh, the humanity. Poor Eric Hurtado died a horrible striker’s death in front of 20,000 or so horrified Vancouver Whitecaps fans on Saturday night.
The international matches for CONCACAF teams meant the Whitecaps were missing no less than six possible starters for the match against the New York Red Bulls. Waston, Bolanos, Perez, De Jong, Barnes and Edgar were all missing. The Red Bulls were missing their talented playmaking midfielder Sacha Kljestan. They did have goal scorer Bradley Wright -Phillips, however, who sealed the Whitecaps fate on this night.
It was a patchwork team for the Whitecaps with Harvey at left back, Parker and Jacobson at centre back, and Smith at right back. Teibert and Laba patrolled in front of the defense, and Morales, Techera and Aird supported lone striker Hurtado up front.
There was one real story to this game: the stark contrast between the scoring ability of Bradley Wright-Phillips and the lack of scoring ability of Eric Hurtado.
Wright-Phillips had one good chance and took it; Hurtado had five good chances and missed the net on all of them. It was not as if it could be said that we were robbed by an excellent goalkeeping performance by keeper Robles in the Red Bull’s goal; Hurtado missed the net on every shot he had. The statistics showed the Whitecaps had 12 shots but no shots on goal.
We fans were subjected to another poor MLS referee in Sorin Stoica, who seemed more interested in his own in-depth explanations and conversations with players than he was in keeping the match flowing for the people who had paid to watch. He created a first for the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS play when he sent Carl Robinson off for disputing a throw in call. Never were the words “ref you suck” chanted by the fans so well deserved.
The Whitecaps did a good job of keeping scoring opportunities low for the Red bulls. They also created numerous great chances for its one striker, but the tiger was toothless and could not go in to kill the prey.
The winning goal came early in the second half. Red Bull’s defender Collin hit a high clearing header into the Whitecaps half and for some reason, Parker let the ball hit the pitch and bounce rather than clear the ball before it hit the ground. After the bounce Parker weakly headed the ball to Red Bulls midfielder Phillipe as his mark, Wright Phillips, slipped past him. Phillipe found Wright-Phillips, who moved across the top of the Whitecaps penalty area with the ball to be confronted by an off-balance Jordan Harvey. Harvey could only weakly kick the ball into the striker’s midriff, and the ball bounced down for Wright-Phillips to hit past a sprawling David Ousted.
Tim Parker’s sophomore blues continued on this night and we can only hope he is learning from these basic mistakes. His poor defending has been a major contributor to the large number of goals the Whitecaps have had scored on them this season.
The poor fitness of Pedro Morales was laid bare as he could only last for two-thirds of the match. The speculation is that he has tendinitis of the knees, which would only be irritated by all of the time the Whitecaps spend playing and practicing on plastic grass. Mezquida came on in the number 10 role to finish out the game.
Kudo and Davies were brought on for Techera and Smith in a desperate attempt to score a goal, but neither made an impact. It seemed foolish that Davies was not brought on earlier than the 79th minute. This game needed a gamble and the Whitecaps coaching staff were too conservative to bring him on earlier.
Hurtado worked like a dog on the night,and got himself into great scoring positions, but missed chance after chance. Had Hurtado scored two of the many chances he had, it would have seen the Whitecaps back in playoff contention. Instead, the Whitecaps face an even more daunting task than before, though they are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet. Hurtado needs to drop down into the NASL to find his scoring touch. He simply does not have what it takes to play at the MLS level.
It is hard to believe that heads won’t roll soon.
Carl Robinson remains very popular with the fans, which was demonstrated by the standing ovation he was given when he was sent off by yet another nutty MLS referee. There is no doubt that the people responsible for player acquisition have a lot to answer for, because the players coming in to the team in 2016 have been poorer in quality than those that left in the off season.
I put the blame squarely at the feet of the owners of the team, who have failed to stump up the necessary cash for a striker who can actually score consistently in the MLS.
Even though it has been years since Camilo Sanvezzo flew the coop down to Mexico, his ghost still haunts the Vancouver Whitecaps. Camilo could finish virtually every chance he got, and he could create his own goals, too. Every striker since Camilo has been a bit of a disappointment, with the exception of Kenny Miller, who also had his troubles scoring when he first came here.
Sad to say that 2016 looks like a year in which things have moved dramatically backwards for the Vancouver Whitecaps rather than forwards.